Stay Fit Today; Avoid Dementia Tomorrow
It’s well-known that exercise plays a vital role in your physical health. Now studies propose that staying fit throughout midlife may protect your brain as well, avoiding mental deterioration later in life.
A new study, published in Neurology, that followed Swedish women for more than 40 years, suggests one’s level of physical fitness predicts the amount of protection from dementia decades later.1
Swedish Dementia and Exercise Study Began 50 Years Ago
At the onset of the study in 1968, 191 Swedish women, ranging in age from 38 to 60, took part in a vigorous stationary cycling test to measure their exercise work capacity. Based on work capacity, women were split three categories: low, medium, and high fitness. The women were followed from 1968 to 2012, and dementia diagnoses were recorded.
The measurement of exercise capacity is an important aspect of the strength of this study. The study focused on the participants’ actual performance rather than relying on participants’ subjective reports of how much, how vigorously, and how often they exercised.